The lovely grasses

On the cabinet above the TV set, I have a large spray of dried grasses that I gathered a couple of years ago during a walk down Hawthornden Creek. As we made our way from the Boundary Road Reserve past the back of the university, environmentalist Chris Marshall pointed out features in the landscape and could tell us the name of every type of grass that was growing there. As someone with little or no knowledge of grasses, it was a bit of a revelation. Once I started to get my eye in, something that seemed amorphous and ordinary – the scraggly grass around an eroded creek – became interesting in its diversity.

It is great to see that Bathurst Regional Council has now singled out Hawthornden Creek for some TLC. It is the first of our six urban creeks to be targeted for rehabilitation and restoration. The creek, which is severely eroded near the archery club grounds, will get a series of rock ramps to slow the flow of water and loss of sediment. At its February meeting, the council voted to allocate $50,000 towards the first stage of the project, which would involve survey of the site, design of the in-stream structures and the implementation of on-ground works if available funds allow.

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With talk of a second track for Mt Panorama, wouldn’t it be great to have an electric (or renewable energy) car race around the mountain? It would be an international drawcard and give developers of new technology a great showcase for their products. I know I’ve said this before, but I say it again now just to keep the idea out there.

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Speaking of renewable energy, we have an active local group exploring the idea of a community-owned wind farm in the area. The group has welcomed the recent report from the state parliament’s committee on rural wind farms, which recommends that the government supports the construction of power lines in remote areas to transport the electricity generated by wind farms. If this went ahead, it would be a great boon to the wind farm industry. The full report is available here.

This piece was written for the Bathurst Community Climate Action Network (BCCAN) column in the Western Advocate.

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